The fanbase of the Dallas Stars is abuzz this week with the news that the Stars will give Russian rookie forward Valeri Nichushkin a shot to make the team immediately out of training camp.
The Stars selected the young Russian no. 10 overall in last month’s entry draft. It was seen as something of a steal for the Stars, given the talent that he possesses, but also something of a risk at the same time, because of the negative reputation that Russian players tend to come with.
But giving him a shot to make the team immediately is the right move for the Stars. Nichushkin has already said that the NHL is his primary goal, and he has little to no interest in the KHL, already having signed his entry-level contract with the Stars. This is obviously good news.
Physically, he’s already prepared to make the jump. He’s a big power forward that has drawn comparisons to Alex Ovechkin for his ability to find the back of the net. Nichushkin on the top line of the Stars, next to Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, has the potential to be terrifying for opposing teams.
With the presence of a fellow Russian in Sergei Gonchar, the Stars are hoping that he can make the jump to this level, from a mental standpoint, relatively quickly, given that he’s already there from a physical perspective.
This is nothing but good news for the Stars and their fans. Nichushkin possesses enormous potential, perhaps as much as anyone in this year’s draft class. It’ll be interesting to see how things shake out for him when training camp and the preseason rolls around, and what type of impact he’s able to make for the Stars this season.